Empowering to make a difference

Linus Turner proudly describes himself as a teacher. His twitter one line bio states “Preparing children for their world …preparing their world for them …you wouldn’t want to do anything else!”.

We are the ancestors

In a packed hour we discover how Linus is teaching independence and interdependence by empowering his students to make a difference. HoD of Computing at Kavanagh College, Linus argues that the future is digital – our digital world is flat and seamless – we can contact anyone. So when his students are working on Equador’s Yasuní National Park they write to Gareth, Rafael and Helen (he uses christian names to emphasise the social connectedness, these are people too who respond to communication). This gives a reason for learning IT skills – writing to all MPs needs a database, and a brochure on a long term strategy for Dunedin trees needs desktop publishing, and so on.

Inspire hope: engender action

Linus carefully manages to run a line of empowering students, but without dumping upon them all the responsibility to fix the world: “we are the adults, it is up to us to model right thinking and action”. It’s important for kids to see progress, sometimes if the students take on something too large he has to say “Ok, we’ll take it from here, we’re the grown ups”. As adults it is our job to be creating a safe world.

Shane’s number of the week: 77. The age of the Athens retired pharmacist Dimitris Christoulas who shot himself in the Greek capital’s Syntagma Square. In a note he said the government had made it impossible for him to survive on the pension he had paid into for 35 years. “I find no other solution than a dignified end before I start searching through the trash for food,” read the note.

Sam’s joined-up-thinking: Google glasses could be the future of how we see sustainably (read on>>>).

Trainspotting: In case you’re not on first name basis: Green MP Gareth Hughes,President of Equador Rafael Correa, and UNDP chief Helen Clark.

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Author: Samuel Mann

An Associate Professor with a background in both IT and land management, Sam has developed applied IT for regional government, crown research institutes and large organisations. He has taught computing since 1994, at Otago Polytechnic Information Technology since 1997, including five years as Head of Department. Sam has published over 150 conference and journal papers in the fields of augmented experiences; sustainability; and computer education. Sam is responsible for the development of Education for Sustainability at Otago Polytechnic where we are committed to every graduate thinking and acting as a sustainable practitioner

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